John Dean Provincial Park - Victoria Hiking Trails
Huge Douglas-fir trees and tremendous views are the highlights of this beautiful Provincial Park just 30 minutes from downtown Victoria, near Sidney. Located high up on Mount Newton near Victoria, John Dean Provincial Park looks across Saanich Peninsula, the Gulf Islands and the distant Cascade Mountains.
There are five main trails that wind through the park to various wonderful viewpoints and places of interest. You can even see the old cabin site of John Dean, who donated the park in 1921. There are two old growth ecosystems in the park. One of Garry oak and the other Douglas-fir.
Biking, hiking, wildlife viewing and picnicking are all popular at John Dean Provincial Park, however camping is not welcome. There is quite a lot to explore in this relatively expansive and very interesting mountain park. Over six kilometres of hiking trails run throughout the park and there are frequent trail signs and map-boards to guide you.
John Dean Provincial Park - Trailhead Directions
From Victoria take the Pat Bay Highway towards the ferry terminal, after 20k turn left on Mt Newton Cross Rd, then right on E Saanich Road, then left on Dean Park Rd and follow the signs to John Dean Provincial Park. On the drive to or from the park on the Pat Bay Highway there is another excellent stop to make. Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park is a pretty and very convenient park to visit anytime of the year. In the beautiful summer months you will find a hive of activity on and around the lakes. Swimming, jogging and relaxing at Beaver Lake. Boating, jet skiing, swimming, relaxing and a lot more at Elk Lake. Both lakes have summertime food and beverage outlets.
More Trails Near John Dean Provincial Park
Bear Hill Regional Park is a nice hill trail, just north of Elk/Beaver Lake in Saanich. It is an easy 2k hike to the summit where the views are sensational. From the trailhead to the summit only takes about 20-30 minutes. High up on the Saanich Peninsula you can see the Gulf Islands and even the San Juan Islands in the United States. The technically active, and alarmingly close volcano, Mount Baker in Washington State is very visible as well on a clear day. The trail to Bear Hill is easy and runs through a beautiful forest of Douglas fir trees that lead to the unexpected grove of Garry oak trees at the summit. The Elk & Beaver Lake Trail is one of many beautiful lakeside trails in Victoria. From the convenient parking lot the trail is mostly flat, gravel or dirt, densely forested at times and runs around both Elk and Beaver Lakes to complete a 10k circuit. The park is very popular for swimming, picnicking, windsurfing, boating, fishing and rowing. Though it can get busy the large size of the park disperses people quite well. If you are running here you will find the trails around the lake peaceful and quiet even if the sandy beaches are crowded and noisy. or Mount Doug as it's locally known is a remarkably easily accessible park with both 360 degree mountain views as well as a beautiful beach. The beach and mountain are connected both by trails and roads allowing for a quick and beautiful visit by car or a longer, interesting and varied hike on foot among the huge Douglas Fir lasand Cedar trees. Parking is available in four areas. At the summit of Mount Doug (accessible by car only after 12pm daily), near the shores of Cordova Bay, at the gate, at the base of the road to the peak as well as further along the park at Glendenning Road. Among the spider web of trails on Mount Doug there is quite an amazing cave. Long abandoned from the old mining days it runs nearly 20 metres from the tiny entrance. Don't forget to bring a flashlight Mount Tolmie is another beautiful, easily accessed mountain in Victoria with 360 degree views. On a clear day you can spot Mount Baker far off in the distance in the US. There are some short trails and a huge, flat topped water reservoir to walk on. Mount Tolmie is located near the University of Victoria, Oak Bay and Beach Drive. Its location makes it a popular stop before or after driving the beautiful Beach Drive coastal route and ending at Beacon Hill Park in downtown Victoria. The beautiful wilderness hiking trails in Francis King Park take you past massive, old-growth Douglas Fir trees. Some estimated to be as old as 500 years and the Elsie King interpretive trail gives beautiful descriptions of the forest around you. The Elsie King Trail is a self guided, 800 metre loop trail, named after a leader of the Victoria Girl Guides and wife of the Victoria naturalist, Freeman King. There are over 11 kilometres of trails in Francis/King Park, and the park connects to Thetis Lake Regional Park. Thetis Lake Regional Park is a very popular Victoria park that contains several lakes. Lower Thetis Lake, Upper Thetis Lake, Prior Lake and further out, McKenzie Lake are all within this amazing park. A wide, spider web of hiking trails run in between and around these lakes in the midst of a beautiful and secluded forest. Trails also lead to more challenging trails to Scafe Hill and Stewart Mountain. In the summer Thetis Lake is fantastically popular as a swimming beach. Sandy beach, beautiful lake, and a wonderful trail system make the park crowded on hot days. Mill Hill Regional Park is a well hidden though wonderfully short hike to amazing views of Victoria, Esquimalt and the Western Communities. The hike is only 15 minutes to the summit with a branching trail that leads to Thetis Lake Park. This is a remarkably seldom hiked park in Victoria. It is rare to see anyone on the trail or at the beautiful summit. The views are amazing. What makes them even more amazing is that the views look as though you are on a much higher mountain than the small and short hike that brought you to this great summit. Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is a beautiful park running along the Saanich Inlet. Accessible from Goldstream Park at one end and Brentwood Bay, near Buchart Gardens at the other. From beautiful ocean views of the inlet to wonderful mountain views from Mount Work, this park has a great variety of characteristically Victoria hiking. Mount Work is a popular hiking trail in Gowlland Tod and the most challenging trail at 5k from trailhead to summit. Gowlland Tod Provincial Park is quite large, spread out and the trails so varied, that you feel far from the city. The trails and views to and along Finlayson Arm are amazing and breathtakingly serene. Lone Tree Hill Regional Park has a beautiful panoramic view from its summit. The hike is fairly short and relaxing at just 1.6k trailhead to summit. Expect to hike for under 30 minutes to reach the viewpoint. The views for such a short hike are quite amazing. You can see the distant Malahat, Victoria as well as the very distant Olympic Mountains in the United States.